My paper with Kenneth Cardenas, “Evicting Slums, ‘Building Back Better’: Resiliency Revanchism and Disaster Risk Management in Manila”, was recognised as a Top Cited Article (2019-2020) in the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research (IJURR), the world’s consistently top ranking urban studies journal.
I am very honoured to receive this recognition, and very pleased to know that it falls on the third anniversary of my Gilbert F. White Thesis Award, given by the American Association of Geographers’ Hazards, Risks, and Disasters Specialty Group at the 2018 Annual Meeting of the AAG in New Orleans.
This paper is part of the Symposium Issue, “Flooding in Asian Coastal Megacities”, edited by Gavin Shatkin, featuring contributions from Liza Weinstein, Andrew Rumbach, Saumitra Sinha, and Kian Goh.
In our article, Kenneth and I forward the concept of resiliency revanchism to characterise Metro Manila’s disaster risk management (DRM) strategy, which we argue is predicated on the mass eviction and relocation of informal settlers. We trace the first shift in Philippine DRM policy to the 2009 Ondoy floods, and cast critical attention on the ways the disaster was constructed, and the ways by which flood projections and solutions further marginalise vulnerable yet undesirable social groups.
We draw on Ulrich Beck’s concept of “risk society”, Löic Wacquant and Tom Slater’s work on “territorial stigma” and “agnotology”, and Asher Ghertner’s idea of “aesthetic governmentality” to critically examine how the deliberate production of ignorance by disaster, climate, and urban expertise constructed anti-slum discourses of flooding, disaster, and resilience, which in turn produced deeply unjust landscapes of risk and resilience in ‘building back better’.
This paper is based on our respective Master’s theses. It synthesises four chapters in mine: Chapter Two (Theoretical and Methodological Frameworks), Three (Why the Slum Had to Go: Territorial Stigmatization, Undesirability, and the Power of Representations), Four (How the Slum Was Made to Go: Aestheticizing ‘Danger Zones’ and Territorializing Risk), and Six (Conclusion).
It is the first of three planned journal articles based on my Master’s thesis. The second, entitled “Benevolent Eviction and Cooperative Housing Models in Post-Ondoy Manila”, was published in the launching issue of Radical Housing Journal, and the third is still in preparation.